West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made fiery remarks at Vidyasagar College on Tuesday evening after arriving at the location where just hours earlier, violent clashes had broken out at the roadshow of BJP party chief Amit Shah.
"The entire college has been attacked and Vidyasagar's statue has been vandalised. Calcutta University's students have been attacked," the West Bengal Chief Minister alleged, going on to level serious charges against the BJP by saying, "I haven't seen such danga (violent hooliganism) by any political party. Hired goons were brought in by the BJP from Bihar."
She targeted Amit Shah directly, asking whether protesting against him wasn't allowed. 'Don't people protest against me?,' she asked. Going on to deny any Trinamool hand in the violence, Mamata Banerjee counter-accused the BJP of 'unleashing goons' inside Calcutta University to attack students there.
Announcing that she would hold a protest rally against the 'provocation by the BJP', Banerjee proclaimed that Bengal wouldn't tolerate such 'danga politics'. She also said that a committee of top officers would be formed to find out the truth behind the clashes.
In a parting shot she said, 'these BJP goons should be ashamed. The BJP knows it will lose (the elections) and hence it is doing as it pleases'.
The statements of the West Bengal Chief Minister directly contrast with the account of Amit Shah who had blamed the Trinamool for the violence, which as per accounts on the ground had begun after bottles and stones were lobbed at the BJP supporters in the final hours of the roadshow.
"See, the manner in which BJP's roadshow was being supported, for 8 km, there was no place to stand. There was so much support. Frustrated by this, Mamata didi's party Trinamool's goons attacked. The attack began at a medical college that was just 200m away from my rath. There was an attempt to trigger a stampede," Shah had said moments after the attack.
He added, "Despite this, BJP supporters ensured that the roadshow continued for the remaining hour and ended at the designated spot. I condemn the violence that Mamata Banerjee's party is perpetrating. I appeal to the people of West Bengal that they answer the violence with peace and high turnout at polls, and bring an end to this cycle of violence by removing the Trinamool."
The BJP chief had also made an argument for why the Trinamool was the only common factor in the violence:
"In six phases, Bengal was the only place which witnessed violence. BJP has contested everywhere, yet violence has only taken place here. The Trinamool doesn't believe in democratic rights and processes."
Following the attack, a BJP representation comprising senior leaders such as Nirmala Sitharaman and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi complained about the violence at the EC's office in New Delhi. Violence of some form or the other has been witnessed in all six phases of the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal.